Saturday, 31 January 2015

Spending to Save

Sorry for my absence, I've had a week of being down in the dumps with no motivation to do anything other than the absolute necessities. DD2 (who has a Masters in Clinical Psychology) thinks I might be bi-polar as I have periods of intense activity when I feel on top of the world and get loads done, followed shortly afterwards by a crash when I'm so depressed and lethargic I could happily spend all day every day in bed feeling sorry for myself. I did finally take myself off to the doctor at the end of last year, but the anti depressants made me ill and I didn't gel with my counsellor so I gave up on it all and haven't been back since. 

I know I should get out and join some social groups and I did enquire about a local craft group but I seem to have developed something of a social anxiety problem and gave up on volunteering last year because I'd get so uptight before going out the door. After 30 years as a stay at home mum who devoted their whole life to raising kids, and as someone who has no interest in fashion, make up, celebrities or buying unnecessary household objects I really feel as if I have very little in common with most of the female population. I do chat at my slimming club, but then I've been going there for over 2 years so already feel comfortable and we have our diet in common. I guess I've turned into this extremely introverted person who has lost their sense of adventure and finds it hard to get pleasure out of most of the activities (even crafting and writing) that I used to love so much. Actually, losing the weight hasn't really helped because I used to love food and baking and it was my feel-good thing and I can't turn to it now if I want to keep the weight off. 

Sorry people for the unloading, I guess I really do need someone to talk to about this stuff who isn't a family member.

Well, wasn't that a fun post (NOT!). 

Now for the original purpose of this post. DH wanted to check tyre pressures today and as I had some money off vouchers for Tesco we went to their petrol station first and then I had a wander around the store. I had a £6 off a £30 spend voucher and a £2.50 club card voucher. I'd already decided to stock up on loo rolls and disinfectant, and I also bought some frozen veg, yogurts, quorn sausages, and a couple of tins of corned beef. The only things I bought not on my list were some rolls and haslet for DH's lunch. My total came to just over £32 but with my vouchers I paid just over £23. On the way home we popped into the pet shop and got 2 big sacks of cat litter. 

As I stocked up on other frozen veg during the week and I still have quite a lot of meat in the freezer, canned and dried stuff on the shelves, plus I have plenty of laundry and other cleaning materials and a stock of loo paper and toothpaste, I'm hoping I won't have to do another big shop this month, especially as we were short by £200 on DH's salary for the extra days he had off when his mum was ill and died last November. I've just about come to the end of the sealed tin coins that I've been living on during January, and that has really helped me to put extra by to offset the reduction.

Despite the reduced income I've still managed to overpay on the mortgage and, since the interest rate on our savings is currently so low, we're trying to decide whether to use part of the savings to pay a huge chunk off the mortgage so we can pay it off completely within a year or so rather than the 2-3 years we'd hoped for. If our mortgage rate was really high it would be a no brainer but our rate is low compared with most. It would be nice to actually own our house though, even if it is a wreck.

Dinner tonight is slow cooker veggie curry and rice - a bag of frozen casserole veg (£1), 2 sachets of Ainsley Harriott lentil dhal (£1 for 4 or 25p each from Approved Foods) and 350g long grain rice (approx 35p from AF). Total cost £1.85 or approx 48p a serving (4 servings).

Hope the weather isn't too dreadful where you are. We're forecast a little snow but hopefully it will clear without causing too much trouble.

That's it, I think. Sorry again for the self-indulgent ramblings. Hope you are feeling a good sight more cheerful than I've been lately. 

Love and hugs to all of you, Helen xx

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sticking and Stitching and Knitting

I've had a couple of lovely crafty days, knitting and stitching and card making. 

I started off at 7.30 this morning by making a card for DD3's BF's birthday on Saturday. Unfortunately I was in a hurry to get it finished and posted and forgot to take a picture of it. Suffice to say it had 6 layers of decoupage so involved a fair bit of cutting out and layering up with sticky pads. Luckily I enjoy all that cutting and sticking and it turned out well considering I was in a rush to get it done. I had some postage stamps left over from Xmas so popped it in the letter box on the way to Aldi to buy a few odds and sods. As I was passing I nipped into the hospice charity shop and bought this 250g ball of double knit for £1, and for 50p  I was pleased to find another ball of the same purple sparkly yarn I'm using to knit socks.

A couple of weeks ago I made another syringe driver bag for the hospice and I had 7 more cut out and ready to sew before I hurt my back and couldn't sit at the machine for any length of time. Last week I didn't feel like sewing and anyway I wanted to get my jumper finished. This week I'd decided to get on with it and put together 4 yesterday, and 3 more today making 8 in total with the one I'd already done. 

I've also got another 3 straps sewn up and just need to cut out and stitch the main bag pieces, or else I'll cut the straps into shorter lengths for tote bags that the hospice wants to put patients' belongings in rather than sending relatives home with their loved ones' bits and bobs in a carrier bag. DH is having a meeting with his business partner in Margate in a couple of weeks so I'll get him to take the bags into the Thanet hospice at Margate Hospital saving me the cost of postage.

And this afternoon I sat down watching Judge Judy and Extreme Couponing and finished off the first pair of socks.

So, that's Christmas pressie numero uno safely stashed long as I don't forget where I put them! I have enough of the purple yarn for at least one more pair, but to ring the changes my next pair will be the same sparkly green that I used for my hat. I'm going to make a pair for the 5 females in the family (including DS2's girlfriend), and maybe a scarf each too. I'm not sure if the boys would appreciate hand knitted socks, although DH loved the ones I made him last year.

Dinner tonight was sliced gammon and crusty rolls with pickles. The gammon was one of 3 joints for £10 bought from Morrisons before Xmas using my savings stamps, and I cheated and bought part-baked rolls from Aldi for 39p a pack. We already had pickles and chutneys plus some pickled onions I won in the raffle at my slimming club a couple of weeks ago...yum, yum. There's enough gammon left for me to add to a macaroni cheese for Saturday. I realised that I got the date of Burns' Night wrong and it's actually on Sunday, so that's when we'll have the haggis (is the plural of haggis haggii?), so tomorrow night we'll have the spicy chicken and veg savoury rice.

That's it for tonight, I think. I must get out for a walk tomorrow; Aldi is the furthest I've been for the past 2 days. Here's hoping the weather is good. Love, Helen x

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Almost Snow and Trying to Keep Warm

We had a tiny flurry of snow this morning but it was gone almost as soon as it started and left a slightly slushy, slippery covering on the pavements. I do hate this weather. I wish we humans could simply hibernate during the winter months. My favourite time of the day is when I can curl up in bed at night with my 2 hot water bottles. My most detested time is having to get out of bed in the morning!

I did brave the cold this morning to diligently attend my slimming club. My weight stayed the same this week which is fine as I lost 2lb last week and I'm dead on my target weight at the moment. I hurried home afterwards to get into the warm. Unfortunately I've had the heating on a lot today. Despite wearing three layers of clothing (long-sleeved t-shirt, brushed cotton shirt and a thick cardigan) and 3 pairs of socks plus slippers I still couldn't stay warm unless I sat on the sofa with a blanket wrapped around me and, of course, I couldn't do that all day.

Dinner tonight was the bolognaise sauce over pasta, and very tasty it was. I'm going to swap the menu plan about a bit and serve the meatloaf tomorrow with chips and baked beans, and the chicken and rice on Saturday instead.

That's about it for today. I hope the weather isn't too bad where you are, and you manage to stay nice and cosy. Love, Helen x

Monday, 19 January 2015

This Week's Menu

I meant to post this last night but time got away from me. 

I spent most of yesterday morning preparing food in advance, except a chicken which I cooked at dinner time, and I have most of the main meals for this week pre-cooked. Once again I mostly used stuff I had in stock.

Yesterday for the first time I cooked a roast chicken using my halogen oven's spit-roast feature, and it came out amazingly well, moist and cooked through with all the fat having dripped into the bottom of the cooker. I had already used the halogen to pre-cook the stuffing balls, roast parsnips and potatoes, and the peas, carrots and sprouts were done in the microwave.Yorkshire puds were cooked at the last minute while the chicken was resting.

Sausagemeat stuffing
 Stuffing rolled in flour
Cooked stuffing  
 Plateful of loveliness

I had 2 whole chickens remaining in the freezer from when Morrisons had their £5 off a £10 spend on meat voucher in the newspaper a few months back. I bought 3 of their 3 for £10 chickens but only paid £5 plus 40p for the paper which made each bird just £1.80. I also had sausagemeat, parsnips, sprouts, peas and carrots in the freezer and spent just 49p on a pack of 15 yorkshire puds from Aldi. Stuffing mix from the cupboard courtesy of Approved Foods, and potatoes were yellow stickered from Morrisons last week.

I calculated the whole meal cost about £5 for 4 people, but of course the chicken will stretch a lot further. In fact, I have already made a slowcooker casserole for tonight's dinner with the chicken picked from the carcass, the leftover veg, a yellow-stickered casserole pack and some butter beans from the freezer, and a sachet of casserole mix from AF. With dumplings cooked on top it made a hearty meal for a freezing cold day. The meat from the two leftover chicken legs will make spicy chicken and rice with vegetables later in the week. 

In addition I also stretched the sausagemeat and stuffing mix. I had a 750g pack of Tesco value minced beef in the freezer, 500g of this was mixed with half the pack of sausagemeat and half the pack of stuffing mix to make a couple of meatloaves, one for the freezer, the other for later in the week. The remaining 250g of mince was used to make a bolognaise sauce in the slow cooker that we'll have with pasta tomorrow night. All this was cooked yesterday morning, so I have very little food prepartion to do this week.

 Meatloaf before and after

Slow cooker bolognaise sauce

This is how the menu looks at the moment starting with yesterday -

Sunday - Roast chicken with all the trimmings
Monday - Chicken casserole with dumplings
Tuesday - Pasta bolognaise
Wednesday - Spicy chicken, rice and veg
Thursday - Sandwich night (I might slow cook a small gammon joint from the freezer to serve with homemade bread and pickles)
Friday - Burns night, so Aldi Haggis (I bought 2, marked at £1.29 they went through the checkout at 99p each) with mashed potatoes and swede. The haggis can be cooked in the microwave in just a few minutes
Saturday - Meatloaf, new potatoes and veg

I might swap the chicken and rice and meatloaf nights around, not sure yet.

Away from talk of food, I had to stay in today waiting for the man to come service our boiler and finally decided on my next knitting project. I'd vowed to make one thing a month towards this year's Xmas pressies so I've decided on socks to start with. I have some more of the sparkly wool I used to make my hat. I have various colours, enough to make at least 4 pairs of the easiest design from that 2 needle sock pattern I bought last year. I've also adjusted it slightly to make the leg length a bit shorter, and from experience I now know they knit up quite big so I'm making the large child size for my daughters. I got one sock done and have made a start on the second so will post pictues as soon as the first pair is finished.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Jumper Finished at Last

Before anything else I have to say a warm welcome to A Few Pennies. Nice to have you reading my ramblings.

I seem to have been knitting this jumper forever, but I finally finished it yesterday. The weather was horiible so I only made it along the road to Aldi for a couple of bits and spent the rest of the day cooking and crafting...and I made myself sit down and seam the jumper. 

Anyone else love the actual knitting part but hate sewing it together? I especially hate sewing in all the ends and with a striped garment like this there were quite a lot of ends. Still, it's done now and here's yours truly modelling it. 

I did press it, I swear, but it appears much more creased in the pictures than it does in real life. I knitted a size 12 and it's very loose so I could probably have got away with a 10, but then I like my jumpers baggy. I'm pleased with how it turned out and I've had a few compliments. I'll probably live in it for the next few days until I fancy a change as it's nice and warm and very comfortable to wear.

Last night we went to watch DD3 as Prince Rupert in the DODS' (Dover Operatic and Dramatic Society) panto of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the town hall. It was a fun evening, and everyone did really well. DD has a lovely voice (proud mummy moment) and she and BF are now getting paid gigs to sing at local cabaret nights and she's also been booked to sing at a wedding later this year. It would be lovely if they could both make a proper living from their singing.

Some random pics from my mad family...

 DH being the perfect husband and vacuuming this morning 

DH pretending the vacuum hose is a smoking gun (yeah, I didn't get it at first either).

 Shadow finally using one of the the pet 'igloos' we bought the cats for Xmas

Today's weather has been a bit of everything. Cold and icy, but really bright sunshine all morning, then torrential rain when we were out early afternoon. No snow so far...hope I'm not tempting fate by saying that. I hope it's not too terrible where you are.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Still Eating From the Freezer

Really pleased at today's weigh-in. Despite having a couple of piggy days last week, by eating healthily the rest of the week, lots of vegetable soups and fruit smoothies, I'd lost 2lbs taking me right back on target. I'd like to get another pound or two off so I'm just below target, but if I stay the same I'm quite happy that I'm managing to maintain my weight quite well. It seems I can get away with a couple of days a week eating whatever I like as long as I mainly stick to healthy eating the rest of the time.

And talking about food, I'm still managing to make meals predominantly from what I have in stock. Today was leftovers. DS1 had some Brains faggots, mash and veg for his lunch left from Sunday. Dinner for DH was liver and bacon casserole left from last night with jacket potatoes, while the boys had a pizza I got yellow-stickered for 49p from Morrisons and oven chips both from the freezer. Tomorrow will be Quorn mince and veg from the freezer made into a pasta bake using Approved Foods pasta from the stockpile in my bedroom, a homemade tomatoey sauce and grated cheddar on top. 

I did buy some frozen mushrooms (Farm Foods 500g for 79p) and frozen mixed peppers (Asda 500g for 89p) as I was low on them, and I've also bought salad veg, potatoes, yogurts, soya milk and bananas this week. But I actually have a whole month's main meals planned out using what I have in my freezer, fridge and on the shelves. In fact, I should have enough left at the end of the month to survive at least another 2 weeks without having to buy main ingredients, but when DH gets paid on 25th I might be tempted by Farm Foods latest deals and their money off vouchers to do a bit of a frozen foods stock up. Just one example...they currently have 3 x 600g packs of frozen back bacon rashers for £5 down from the usual £6. 

Thursday will be soup and sandwich night; a spinach and chickpea soup and bacon sandwiches using a Farm Foods bacon pack and a loaf made in my breadmaker. Friday will be sausage casserole from the freezer and couscous...nice and quick as we're out at the town hall to see the local amateur dramatics' society pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, as in true panto tradition DD3 is playing the principal male role. 

That's all for tonight. Hope everyone is well and not being too affected by the wet and windy weather. Love, Helen x

Monday, 12 January 2015

Feeling Better

After a very painful weekend when I felt I'd aged about 30 years, my back is feeling so much better today. I am being sensible and trying not to do too much, but it is so nice not to feel all bent over and wincing every time I have to get out of a chair or pick something up. I went into town this morning (horrible drizzly weather) and my back did ache a bit when I got home, but after a sit down I was fine again. 

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours at DD2's helping make her wedding invitations, along with her MIL (another Helen). The ceremony is on 30th May at the Jackdaw Inn in the village of Denton near Canterbury. It's where we had a meal for DD1's 30th birthday in June last year. We're hoping for fine weather as there's a lovely garden with an arbour where the ceremony will be held (indoors if it's wet) and she's having 2 bouncy castles, one for the kids and one for adults, plus a hog roast and sweets table. 

I'm also making the cupcakes although other Helen will be decorating them, and she's also making and decorating the wedding cake. I froze a cupcake without icing from DD3's birthday tea back at the end of November to see whether I would be able to make them well in advance of the wedding day rather than the night before. I defrosted it and took it round to DD2's and it was fine when we tried it...a third each, so not too naughty.

Now I have to keep my weight down so I can look lovely in the photos. When DD1 married 5 years ago I was 14.5 st and a size 20 and I wore baggy black trousers, a loose white shirt and a huge navy-blue jacket; this time I'm hoping to look more feminine in a dress. My weight stayed exactly the same all over Christmas and the New Year and I'm hoping for at least another stay-the-same at my weigh-in tomorrow. I've had a couple of piggy days this week but have eaten really healthily the rest of the time...lots of smoothies and vegetable soups. Continuing to attend the Slimming World meetings each week is definitely helping me to keep things in check. Knowing I have to weigh in (and start paying again if I go more than 3lbs over target for 2 weeks in a row) means that even if I do have a couple of bad days I always try to get back on track over the weekend and on Monday. So, fingers crossed for tomorrow. 

Not much else to tell for now. I'm still working on my jumper, the second sleeve is slowly growing. I might even have pics of me wearing it to show before winter is over!!!

That's all for now, folks. Have a good evening. Love, Helen x

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Not Amused

Today it's been one thing after another. 

Woke up late to the sound of pouring rain, and it was still almost as dark as night at 8.30. Didn't want to get out of bed, but there was laundry to do and I had hoped to pop into town despite the dreadful weather.

Perhaps I should have stayed where I was after all. Firstly, when I got out of bed, I bent down to pick something up and ping the muscles in my lower back popped. I have a slight weakness there and my back gives out for no apparent reason every now and then. So, my leg has just about cleared up and I've been happily striding out as usual this week, and now I'm back to hobbling around again, all bent over and groaning every time I have to bend and straighten up. Thank goodness I know from experience that it usually heals within a few days.The only good thing to come out of it, it's given me a valid excuse to sit on the sofa for most of the day with a hot water bottle against the offending region while I knitted away at my jumper. One sleeve has been completed and the ribbing done on the second. I can see the end of it in sight and can't wait for it to be done so I can start on something else. Oh, and another plus is not going out means I had a no-spend day. Had to be some silver lining to today's annoyances. Of course, being a mum and used to carrying on regardless, and despite being fairly immobile, I still managed to get that laundry done and dried over the radiators, and I've also made tuna pasta bake for dinner tonight. 

Second bad thing was DS1 having another streaming cold, the second in just over a month. He always has a serious case of man flu when he gets ill, convinced he's dying and I get a run down of every symptom and how he's going to suffocate because he can't breathe through his nose and he didn't get a wink of sleep last night. I do feel sorry for him, but it is just a cold and we all get them. That's what he gets for working in retail and being constantly in contact with members of the public and all their nasty germs. I've suggested he starts taking some multi vitamins I have in the bathroom cabinet.

Third c*ck-up was DS2 going to the railway station in the pouring rain only to learn there were severe delays in the services out of London due to signalling errors and his train could be an hour and a half late. He was soaked through and decided to come home instead of waiting around, especially as by the time he got to Uni his lecture would be best part over. He did phone to let them know he wasn't going to be in as he also had a meeting with his tutor. Fortunately the notes for his lecture will be online for him to catch up, and he's spent the time at home working on an essay.

Fourth, we had a power cut at lunchtime right in the middle of the auction on Bargain Hunt. I dare it cut out right then! LOL!!!! Everything went down and the alarm at the car hire business up the road went off, and I was just thinking I'd have to put towels over everything in the freezer so it didn't defrost when the power came back again. Not soon enough for me to catch that auction, though. I'll have to try and find it on the Catch Up tomorrow.

And lastly, DH decided to take the back roads home tonight, drove through a massive puddle, flooded the engine of our old VW Polo and it stalled and then wouldn't restart. So there he is, stuck on a tiny country road in the pitch black for over an hour waiting for Green Flag to send someone out. To be fair, they are very good and someone was with him within the hour and got him sorted out enough he could drive home, but all in all he was nearly 3 hours late getting in, cold and wet and tired out. I had dinner and a mug of hot chocolate waiting for him and now he's dropped off on the sofa, bless him. And...he's just started snoring!

Surely, surely tomorrow has to be a better day.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

More (Virtually) Free Meals

I finally got around to making that celery soup today. I used celery and potatoes that DS1 had brought home from an Xmas dinner at his friend's place. The friend was going away for Xmas and wouldn't be using them up so gave them to DS. As usual I used my soup maker. I added an onion, chicken stock cubes and seasoning. The recipe called for the addition of cream, which I substituted with a couple of tablespoons of low fat soft cheese (to lower the calories). The soup wasn't completely free but the main ingredients were. DH, DS1 and I had it for lunch and it was absolutely delicious. 

I also used some of those free raspberries combined with one of the yellow-stickered Activia vanilla yogurts and a little semi-skimmed milk to make my breakfast smoothie.Once again, mostly free food and completely yummy.

Dinner tonight wasn't free, but still reasonably priced. Slow cooker beef curry, Thai spiced rice and homemade onion bhajis. The beef was £2.50 for 450g from Farm Foods (4 beef products for £10). I added a chopped onion (10p), half a tub of chopped green pepper (13p) that I got a while ago for 25p from Morrisons, plus various spices (20p). The rice was 50p for 2 packets from Approved Foods (4 packs for £1), and the onion bhajis were a mix also from AF (5 for £1) with one sliced onion added (20p for the mix and 10p for the onion) and a drop of oil for cooking (5p). Total for 4 generous servings of curry, rice and bhajis was £3.88 or approx 97p a portion. Not bad for a main meal for 4. 

All 3 of today's meals were made with food I already had in stock; the only thing I bought today was 4 x 2 litre bottles of milk for the freezer at 2 for £1.50 from Farm Foods.

DH is back at work tomorrow. It is great now that he's got a fulltime, permanent teaching position that we don't have to worry about not being paid over the holiday periods and wondering whether he'll have work when the new term starts, but I shall miss him. Although I do enjoy some alone time, and I am looking forward to pottering around, crafting and maybe relaxing in the afternoon to watch a couple of my favourite programmes, it's been lovely having him to myself for 2 whole weeks. His snoring aside, after 35 years together, (30 of them married) I still love him to bits and count him as my best friend.

And on that mushy note I'll sign off for another day. I hope you've all had a great weekend and are ready for another frugal week. Love, Helen x

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Meal Planning and Freebies

First, the free stuff. 4 punnets of fresh raspberries in Morrisons yesterday reduced to 25p each except, when they went through the till, the 2 for £3 offer was triggered (which would have saved 25p a punnet on the original price). Saving 25p a punnet meant I got all 4 absolutely free, perfectly legal as even the shop assistant commented on what a good deal it was.

And today we had a free meal at a lovely little restaurant by the harbour in Dover thanks to the gift voucher DH received as a leaving present from the College back in July. We even received change as the meal cost less than the value of the voucher. It's not often you can leave a restaurant with more money in your purse than when you entered it. I had a lovely fish and chip dinner, so big that the beer-battered cod overhung the plate. No, it wasn't on my diet, but I hadn't had breakfast and I was so full afterwards that I've hardly eaten anything else all day. DH had a burger which must have been about an inch and a half thick. Again, we were both so stuffed we couldn't take advantage of the desserts menu which is why we ended up not using the full value of the voucher and getting change. It's been a horrible, cold, wet day and lunch out really cheered us up.

Oh, I do love free stuff, especially when it's so delicious.

The remainder of the afternoon I've spent doing a freezer inventory and meal planning. Instead of working out a detailed day by day plan which always gets scuppered by unforseen events, I've made a list of meals using what I have in stock and will choose from the list as appropriate. I've factored in several meals to make double or triple of so that I can freeze some for those times when I don't have time to cook from scratch (or when I can't be bothered). So far I have the equivalent of a month and a half's worth of meals which will use most of what I have in the freezer plus some of my dried and canned stocks. I also have enough toilet paper for a month, and enough anti deodorant, toothpaste and soap for at least 3 months. I will still need to buy some fresh stuff and dairy produce but if I can get through until the end of February without needing to do a big shop for the freezer and shelves I will be really pleased. 

I've also gone through my bank account and made my plans to get back on track with my wallet system of saving and putting money aside each month for all eventualities. We're going to make a real effort to get our mortgage paid off in the next 2 1/2 years in time for my 60th birthday. We already overpay every month on our direct debit and I also try and make an extra overpayment by variable standing order, but for the next 30 months we're going to try and pay off even more every single month. We are very fortunate that we changed and paid a one-off charge for a special mortgage arrangement a few years back and only pay 0.79% above the Bank of England base rate so our current interest payment is just 1.29% and we've now got just over £19,000 remaining. If we can manage to clear that in 30 months we'll have knocked about 7 years off the term of the mortgage, but we will need to double our current payment and that will be tight going. Once it's reduced to an amount we could conceivably pay off from our savings account if we had to, we'll cancel the payment protection insurance and the specific mortgage life insurance and put that £40 a month towards further reducing the mortgage balance.

We've agreed, though, that we need to enjoy life a little too, so my budgeting has allowed for a cheap holiday, occasional days out and a coffee, and maybe lunch out once a month. We also have DD2's wedding at the end of May, but I've already saved the money we're gifting the happy couple and there's some for my outfit and other extras that might arise. Hopefully MIL's financial affairs will get settled within a few months and then we'll be reimbursed the funeral expenses from her estate.

I'm tired out now after so much concentration and will be having an early night. Nothing to do with having spent part of last night on the sofa to escape DH's snoring! Sometimes I can put up with it, but last night it was driving me crazy, especially as I'd made up for the previous day's tardiness by getting up at 5.45am. Luckily we have a long, wide leather sofa that's extremely comfortable to sleep on when needs must.

I think that's all my mutterings done for now. Have a good evening. Love, Helen x

Thursday, 1 January 2015

What time?

What time, indeed! I didn't get out of bed until 11.15 this morning. Yes, that's right...nearly lunchtime. But then it was close on 2.30 am before I dropped off to sleep thanks to our neighbours still partying...well, that and DH snoring in my ear.  Because of the noise I took one of my Boots Sleepeaze tablets. That's probably why I slept so late; they can make me sleepy for much of the day after which is why I only take them when I've had several bad nights in a row.  DH, bless him, bought me up a cup of green tea at 10, but I thanked him, set it aside, and then turned over and dropped back off again. 

When I did finally drag myself from under the covers DH had gone out, driving DS1 to work in Canterbury, so I got on with making up for my laziness and had yesterday's laundry folded and put away, the kitchen sink, draining board and work surfaces scrubbed, all the bins emptied and put out for collection and a load of dirty floor cloths put on to wash by the time he got back. I'd also made a smoothie for my late breakfast, the same ingredients as yesterday but omitting the oats. 

It was a horrible, cold, dull day but we took another slow, careful walk into town, went into McDonalds for a McFlurry for DH and a tea for me, had a quick look around W H Smith and The Works and then another slow walk home. My leg is feeling much better today (touch wood) so I'm taking it easy as I don't want to jinx my recovery. I wore my new hat and was grateful for the warmth. It's a little bit looser than I'd like so I might thread some shearing elastic through the ribbing.

Dinner tonight was leftovers from the fridge and freezer. Some veggie chilli and some beef goulash from the freezer, combined and served with leftover jacket potatoes from the fridge and some part-baked rolls. The chilli/goulash was reheated in the microwave and I crisped up the potatoes and rolls in the halogen.

I haven't really made any resolutions for 2015, except to try and finish off some of my crafting projects and to make something every month towards gifts for next Xmas. But for January I hope to pick back up on my intention to eat from my fridge, freezer and cupboards. I meant to do this in November but that got scuppered by the time and expenses we had in Wales for MIL's funeral, and in December by my belated Xmas preparations. DH will be 3 days short on his salary at the end of January because of the time he took off to be with his mum at the end, and when sorting out her affairs, so I'm having to be extra careful with this month's money to save a bit extra to cover the loss. Eating from what I have in stock will go a long way towards helping out with that.

Tomorrow DH is meeting with the friend he's trying to develop an educational software company with, so I might have another slow, careful walk into town and wander in and out of the charity shops. I won't promise not to buy anything, but it will need to be a really good bargain.

That's all for now folks. Hope you've had a good first day of the year. Love, Helen x